Anti-Trump Republicans Begrudgingly Admit Defeat

Never say never.

Prominent Republicans who opposed Donald Trump throughout his campaign offered support for the president-elect in the wake of his big win.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) voted for independent conservative presidential hopeful Evan McMullin over Trump, whom he once referred to as a “jackass.” But after the real estate mogul cinched victory early Wednesday, Graham offered congratulations and vowed to help him “to the extent that I can.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), a frequent target of Trump’s mockery, also congratulated him on the election results. Bush, a onetime primary opponent of Trump’s who also said he was not voting for him, noted that he and his wife would “pray for you.”

Meanwhile, former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele, who had said he was voting for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, shared some of Trump’s victory speech without actually offering any praise.

2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney was one of the first prominent conservatives to denounce Trump, saying in March that “his domestic policies would lead to recession” and “his foreign policies would make America and the world less safe.” But on Wednesday, he sang a different tune. 

Of course, many of Trump’s biggest GOP critics ― including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) ― ended up voting for him anyway.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R), who last month called on Trump to quit the race over comments the former reality TV star made about groping women, on Wednesday vowed to “do everything in my power to hold the President to his promises.”

“My family and I congratulate President-Elect Trump on his decisive victory, and we pray that he will lead wisely,” Sasse said in a statement.